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Salisbury-Rowan Sports Hall of Fame seeks permanent location in West End Plaza

By Samuel Motley

samuel.motley@salisburypost.com 

SALISBURY — The Salisbury-Rowan Sports Hall of Fame is seeking a permanent location in West End Plaza.

“If we want to be proud of our community, then we need to be proud of our people,” said Scott Maddox, Hall of Fame co-chairman.

Maddox, on behalf of the Hall of Fame committee, proposed the idea of a permanent location to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, asking that the county provide the space at West End Plaza for no charge. The proposal is listed on the agenda as a consent item for the commissioners meeting Monday — meaning the board has already come to a consensus on the item.

But the location at West End Plaza would not be a permanent one, said Commissioner Craig Pierce. County land cannot be ceded to municipalities, Pierce said, and the Salisbury-Rowan Sports Hall of Fame operates under Salisbury’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The county still plans to provide the next best thing. It would lease the space to the Hall of Fame for 99 years, Pierce said. The rent would likely be $1.

This is no different from what the county did for the Veterans Honor Guard, also located at West End Plaza, Pierce said.

Since the Hall of Fame’s inception in 2000, it has had no permanent or long-term location.

The annual induction for new Hall of Fame members is the only time the plaques, memorabilia and archives are on display. The induction ceremony is each August at Salisbury Civic Center.

Once the induction comes to an end, the Hall of Fame archives are returned to storage.

If approved, the new location would allow the Hall of Fame to memorialize its archives. According to Maddox, it would focus on several main areas of the county’s sports history:

• An area reserved for African-American history and that community’s contributions to sports and change in Rowan County.

• A similar spot for women’s history.

• A section dedicated to audio and video that would celebrate notable sports events.

• A section for those who are enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

• An area reserved for teams that did something “extraordinary” but whose members may not all be in the Hall of Fame.

The yearly induction of Hall of Fame athletes, which has an average attendance of 100 to 150, will likely not take place at the proposed long-term location, Maddox said. A typical shop in West End Plaza is too small to hold that number of people, he said.

In the proposal to be presented at the commissioners meeting, Maddox listed that up-fits needed to allow for public visitation in the proposed location would run at about $15,000.

The Hall of Fame will be seeking assistance from the city to make these up-fits, Maddox said in the proposal.

In an interview with the Post, Maddox added that the Hall of Fame also will seek funding from a variety of groups in the community. As a nonprofit organization, the Hall of Fame will have the freedom to do so, he said.

A “permanent” location for the Hall of Fame would transition it from an idea to a reality, Maddox said. People want to give to more than an idea, he said.

The Hall of Fame committee has 14 members, representing all areas of the county. Dennis Davidson and Maddox are the co-chairmen. Steve Clark, a recreation coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department, oversees the Hall of Fame for the city. He gathers and files information from committee meetings, including nominations, and is responsible for the induction.

Contact reporter Samuel Motley at 704-797-4264.

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